Leaning Into the Fall
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Release Date: March 10
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Length: Approximately 77K words
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Bisexual, humor, San Francisco, May to December romance
SynopsisNick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He's made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.
Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.
ExcerptWes led me to a small room at the opposite end of the building filled with barrels. The temperature dipped at least ten degrees here and the strong scent of fermenting wine was offset by the smell of oak. I moved toward the round table in the middle and glanced up at the tower of barrels. Each was labeled and dated, but as far as I could tell, the order wasn’t chronological. I categorized and filed the numbers in my mind in an attempt to solve a mystery that probably wasn’t so mysterious after all.
“These are special reserve wines. The best of the best. Theoretically anyway,” Wes said, picking up the long-sleeved plaid shirt draped over one of the chairs at the table.
“What do the numbers mean?” I asked, running my fingers over the printed tag on the barrel.
“It’s an internal code that basically tells us exactly which vines yielded the harvest. Some have information about soil disruption or weather flux. Of course, once the wine is fermenting that information is no longer significant but—”
“Where are the dates on these labels? Isn’t timing everything in the wine business?”
“Some might argue timing is everything in every facet of life.” Wes regarded me curiously before pointing out the dates in the middle of the tag. “It’s all here. See?”
“I don’t understand your system,” I said, stuffing my hands in my back pocket and staring up at the barrels.
“It’s an internal system. You’re not meant to understand. It’s for us only. The same way you wouldn’t explain the science behind how an advanced operating system works to one of your clients. They might say they’re fascinated but they aren’t really interested in the details. Same goes for wine. People come to tour the winery every day. They want to know about grape varietals and blends and some even ask about topography, weather and the fermentation process. But the true science of wine making confounds them. At the end of the day, truth is in the bottle.”
“In vino veritas.”
Wes smiled as he pulled his shirt on. “’In wine, truth’,” he translated. “Different context, but yes… truth. Are you going to tell me why you’re here or do I have to break out a bottle of Pinot to get the real story?”
Wes’s wolfish grin spread slowly across his handsome face as he closed the distance between us. He tilted my chin with his forefinger and stared deep into my eyes as though he was trying to read my mind. Or devour me whole.
“You look like you want to eat me,” I said before I could stop myself.
“I do. I want to do lots of things to you. Is that why you’re here? You want me to eat you, Nicky?”
“You invited me.” My eyes drifted shut when he ran his fingers along my jaw then splayed his hand behind my head and tugged my hair.
“I did. I’m glad you came.”
“Well, we were in the middle of listing our all-time favorite bands or artists by decade. That’s not the kind of thing you can leave for a whole week. It’s important.”
“You’re right. What were we thinking?” He licked my bottom lip in a sensual line from one corner of my mouth to the other. “We’ll have to continue that discussion later. I want to do other things first.”
When I read the first book in this series, Leaning Into Love, I said that Nick just rubbed me the wrong way. I also said I hoped he'd be redeemed in a future book, and I am so very happy to say that Leaning Into the Fall does exactly that (yeah, I'm a sucker for those kinds of follow-up stories). Here in this book, we get to see exactly why Nick acts the way he does, and everything more I learned about him endeared him even more to my heart.
There's an innocence to Nick that, combined with his personality, makes it almost impossible not to fall for him. For me, the fact that he's a genius and an analytical super-whiz is like icing on the cake (I love the brainiacs!) But it also makes it seem like he's not sure what he wants-at least to others. Wes was simply put-amazing. He's experienced, intelligent, savvy and knows exactly what Nick needs--and is ready to take care of him. The two of them come together so easily, but Nick's insecurity gets the best of him-something that doesn't bode well for their relationship.
I loved that their relationship and feelings develop over time, and felt that Nick and Wes fit together like the proverbial puzzle pieces. I was almost distraught at the thought that Nick's difficulty trusting others and his way of thinking might ruin such a beautiful relationship, as any outcome other than the two of them together just would have been...well...WRONG.
Oh, and I loved, loved, loved Geordie. A bit flamboyant, definitely emotional, and certainly heartbroken-yet he still plays his supporting role wonderfully and I cannot wait to get his story at some point in this series.
You can surely say I'm hooked on this series, and Leaning Into the Fall was a 5-star read for me. This series has turned Lane Hayes into an auto-buy author for me...and M/M romance fans will definitely want to add this book to their library. While it can be read as a standalone, I think readers will appreciate Nick a lot more if Leaning Into Love is read first. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and some hot and steamy M/M sexual content.